tampabay.com

Captain's Corner

Slugging it out with bottom dwellers such as big grouper and snapper requires heavy tackle.

By STEVE PAPAN
Published January 23, 2007


Tackle: Slugging it out with bottom dwellers such as big grouper and snapper requires heavy tackle. After all, when you are anchored right, you should be dropping bait right outside their jagged, rocky front door. Sixty-pound tackle is the minimum used on most of our trips.

Tactics: When bottom fishing, never set the hook, no matter how shallow you are fishing. When the bait is on the bottom, reel the slack out of the line and raise your rod tip a couple of feet from the water surface. When you get a hit, reel nonstop as fast as possible to set the hook and get the fish heading in the right direction, in one motion. As the fish is coming to the surface, a steady crank of the handle is all you need, especially in deep water. If a larger fish is hooked and you pry him off the bottom, loosen the drag about halfway to the surface. This action ensures that the fish is not lost because of line breakage, when it turns to surge back to the bottom.

Tips: Having a great catch usually has more to do with proper anchoring than angling skill. One effective way to ensure good position is to fish ledges or breaks that are facing the wind. If the wind is out of the north, fish breaks that run east and west and vice versa. This technique makes anchoring on the spot easier. You will have a little more room for error because the break should run right across the transom.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or www.fintasticinc.com.